I’m a little worried that this “Home” thing will become like the “Home Alone” series and never end…just sayin’…
Yet, this theme of “home” continues to rattle around in my head. I was thinking about my literal homes and stories that they tell. I vaguely remember my first home and recently I walked to it while I was in LA. It’s a lot smaller than I remember it – isn’t that true for you, too? My second home was on Dunsmore Ave. (I’ve written about that weirdness in an earlier post.) It’s where I learned independence – riding my bike up the hills to visit friends, walking down to the liquor store, going to the park all day every day during the summer, smoking my first cigarette (and other things)…
My next home was brief and it wasn’t part of the plan. As I was the last kid at home, my parents were looking toward their “golden years” and they wanted to sell the house, buy an apartment complex and move to Glendale which was actually not even a different town, just a different part of town. As a very selfless, confident, mature 14 year old, I fully supported their decision…NOT!!! I threw a toddler tantrum EVERY time they talked about it and eventually, they backed down so the compromise was that they bought the apartment complex and we rented an apartment where I could finish high school with my classmates. Who says temper tantrums don’t work?
I eventually left that home (which always felt temporary) and moved to Chico for college where I lived in three different places over three years. My definition of “home” broadened at this time. It definitely became more about the town, the people, and the experiences. And yet…every time I returned to LA (less frequently referred to by me as “home”) and I breathed in that smoggy smell at the top of the Grapevine, I thought…no, I felt…at home. Sadly and strangely, that smell was a warm fuzzy. (I was in LA visiting my mom in June and that smell was there – the first time I’d smelled it in years…and it warmed my pointed little heart as I dropped into the valley).
While I was traveling during college, my parents bought a condo (That whole apartment-living thing didn’t ever pan out. They eventually sold the condo and bought another house. I guess apartments just weren’t “home” for them.) After my travels in Europe, I returned to LA to finish junior college; it definitely did not feel like home.
Later, my LA “home” became my sister and brother-in-law’s house. They always welcomed me and eventually my family. This “home” was more about the family time, the holidays, the parties, the memories, the people. And sadly, when my sister passed, I lost that sense of home. But that was not really about the house that I lost, it was the sister I lost (who in many ways was more of my mom…but that’s a different blog post).
So time passed, I moved around before Glen and with Glen. We had kids. We got old – ish. And still my definition of “home” continues to evolve, though I think that I can definitively say that our house and community of 31 years feels like “home”. I love our house, but I really love our family and friends. That’s what home is, right? It’s a feeling. A belonging. A knowing. A familiarity. Hey – is that where family comes from?
One other thought…I just finished a great and easy book called London’s Number One Dog-Walking Agency. It’s a memoir and the author mostly “thinks aloud” throughout the whole book. She’s funny and witty and thoughtful. And much of her thinking hit home. Pun intended. She struggled throughout the book to identify what home meant to her and at one point she concluded that “Family homes need a bit of messiness, a bit of tattiness, a lot of noise…Matter and clutter, telling the story of the family and the people who lived there. It shows that there are ideas and interests and arguments going in here that are too much fun to stop and tidy every last envelope. It tells you that there’s love.”
So I wonder…is “home” simply where the “love” is? Will Walnut Creek always be my home, sweet home? My home is where the heart is? My there’s no place like home?
Time will tell.
And in the meantime…stay tuned as our travels have begun! Here’s our “home” this week.